Not long ago, I said to an Orthodox friend, “Do you ever notice that some elders and others say that since the death of Christ, there has never been a time of darkness such as this one? But if you read history, you know there have been very, very dark times in the Christian era, times where evil was more rampant than we see today. Mass murder, slavery, all kinds of hideous things. I just don’t see how things are so much worse today.”
These days are worse than under Nazism? Worse than Maoism, and Bolshevism? These days are darker than during the wars of religion in Europe, or … you see where I’m going.
On the other hand, this quote from the political philosopher J. Budziszewski, taken from his book on the natural law, “What We Can’t Not Know,” may provide justification for that judgment. In the past, people did great evil, but they at least had a way to understand that what they did was evil. Now? According to Budziszewski, who teaches at UT-Austin, not so much:
We are passing through an eerie phase of history in which the things that everyone really knows are treated as unheard-of doctrines, a time in which the elements of common decency are themselves attacked as indecent. Nothing quite like this has ever happened before. Although our civilization has passed through quite a few troughs of immorality, never before has vice held the high moral ground. Our time considers it dirty-minded to treat sexual purity as a virtue; unfeeling to insist too firmly that the sick should not be encouraged to seek death; a sign of impious pride to profess humble faith in God. The moral law has become the very emblem of immorality. We call affirming it “being judgmental” and “being intolerant,” which is our way of saying it has been judged and will not be tolerated.
What do you think?